Out of sight is out of mind

I wish it were true.  Well, it does appear to be true for him… but not for me. Oh yes, my life is a lot easier and I feel more free – can make my own decisions about what I do, don’t have him coming round here at odd times or have to think what I need to do in his house today… But of course he is still on my mind and heart and I wonder how he is doing all those miles away – but most of all I just feel sad he hasn’t wanted to contact us… well over 2 weeks now since he left and not a peep – not even a facebook message 😦

He did tell us he would get in touch when he is ready – doesn’t want any ‘fussing’ (oh dear!) so I am guessing he is absolutely fine.  Parents’ legitimate concerns don’t cut any ice with Sam… he is his own man and he will ‘take care of it’ (we hope!) But if there is one thing I can be sure of,  if he does ever has a problem of any sort – wherever I am or he is in the world – the first thing he does is phone his mum! A broken computer, a toothache, a call from the bank, feeling miserable, anything at all and my phone rings: there’s usually not a lot I can do to help other than advise, encourage and sometimes pray with him – but it always leaves me worried and anxious and usually ruins my day… so I should be very glad it hasn’t happened! Anyway, I know distance or expense would not stop him doing that – because what else is a mum for other than to make life run smoothly?!  No…he is fine. Anyway, the guy who is looking after him has repeatedly told us he’s doing well – eating, sleeping, ‘getting better’ every day… whatever that means!

I have to accept he just doesn’t want to know us at the moment – and it hurts. He has been desperate to get away for so long – so trapped here in a small town with no prospects and few friends, battling this ‘thing in his head’ – it must be exciting to be having a foreign adventure and some hope… why should he look back? I understand it from his side and I know I must let go: I have let go! All our young have to become independent and he has been tied for far too long; we are not his friends but his parents and he is supposed to leave us behind – while we wait for him to return to us as a friend, if he so chooses, in his own time…

It still hurts.  And I suppose that is normal – a lot of parents go through this when their children finally break away. Sam has done it twice before… and actually those times I wasn’t hurt when he didn’t get in touch… but he didn’t have a terminal diagnosis then and I suppose it raises all the stakes.  It has also taken a very long time and a lot of our input to get him to this point – with thanks due to Jessa as well – a l-o-n-g time to grow up, a lot of hurdles to jump. I have watched my friends go through this ‘children leaving home’ phase in less than 2 years and they are now completely free while we have become exhausted having to give and give again.  I guess after the past 8 years when Becca first left and all the challenges of protracted illness and reversals I am pretty fragile emotionally, so not surprising I feel it so acutely: I would just like a comforting hug from my son to know that he still loves me and is grateful for what we have done!

Who is the child now?! ME ME ME!  It’s not as if he has gone for good. The hug will come when he returns on Christmas Day – a nice present 🙂 I must forgive him for not thinking of me – of both of us, because yes, we are both bruised and struggling in the silence. Rebecca must have felt like this for a long time when he hasn’t thought to contact his sister between her visits home. No wonder the prodigal’s father went out and stood on the road looking for his son to return…

It’s about anxiety and how to deal with it. But if we point out to him that we are struggling too, Sam says our worries are not his responsibility but ours! That is true – if rather unkind… but he has enough to focus on without trying to help his family cope. Actually he even finds it hard to acknowledge that we also have a journey of grief to go on alongside him – but he’s right, with all he is carrying that is not his problem, but ours.

Childhood memories and photographs can help a bit – like this scribbled note I have in a frame from when we returned from holiday in early 2002… wow, nearly 10 long years ago.  The grinning child or cuddly toddler in old photographs just make Martin more sad at what has been lost, but I have found a way to enjoy what was and remember the good times when we laughed and cuddled together.  Underneath the independence and cold facade I do know we are the most important people in his life, our hearts intimately intertwined in the same way our genes are.  Sam still loves us even if he can’t take on board how we might be feeling at the moment.

Back to the story Jesus told in Luke 15:  I can be sure the Father knows how I feel – the One who waits for all of us to return to His arms. When my son has forgotten I exist or prefers to keep me at arms length for whatever reason, that is the place I need to go for comfort.

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About Sally Ann

True-story teller - words and pictures
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